Pilgrimage sees record turn-out

NRHNBE110703d7, Annual pilgrimage to the Crich War memorial to the Mercian regiment.
NRHNBE110703d7, Annual pilgrimage to the Crich War memorial to the Mercian regiment.

Thousands of people gathered at Crich War Memorial to mark the annual regimental pilgrimage.

Veterans stood shoulder-to-shoulder with serving soldiers to pay their respects to all those from the Mercian Regiment who gave their lives in service of their country.

NRHNBE110703d5, Annual pilgrimage to the Crich War memorial to the Mercian regiment.

NRHNBE110703d5, Annual pilgrimage to the Crich War memorial to the Mercian regiment.

This year’s event, on Sunday, drew record numbers, with around 3,000 attending.

Cindy Baines, assistant regimental secretary, said: “It went extremely well and I think we had the greatest numbers so far.

“Around 3,000 people were there, which is a huge amount. It far exceeded what anybody imagined.

“I think a lot of people attended because of the re-dedication of the extended memorial to the soldiers recently killed operation.”

NRHNBE110703d3, Annual pilgrimage to the Crich War memorial to the Mercian regiment.

NRHNBE110703d3, Annual pilgrimage to the Crich War memorial to the Mercian regiment.

She added: “It is turning in to a family day.

“There were a lot of children and lots of people having picnics as well as veterans and coach loads of visitors coming in.

“Everyone was paying their respects together and teaching the children what the memorial is all about.”

Present and former service men and women and their families were joined by local dignitaries including the Lords Lieutenant, the High Sheriffs and mayors.

NRHNBE110703d11, Annual pilgrimage to the Crich War memorial to the Mercian regiment.

NRHNBE110703d11, Annual pilgrimage to the Crich War memorial to the Mercian regiment.

Matlock mayor Barry Hopkinson and his wife Cate, who attended the event, said they were pleased to see so many people had turned out for the annual pilgrimage.

It is 89 years since the opening of the Memorial Tower, which was originally built to commemorate the 11,409 men of Sherwood Foresters who were killed in the First World War.

The tower’s opening event in 1923 was attended by around 50,000 people.

It was later dedicated to the memory of those who died during the Second World War and subsequent conflicts.

In 1991 it was also dedicated to members of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment who had been killed in service since 1970.

Before this year’s pilgrimage the families of the men of the Mercian Regiment recently lost in Afghanistan gathered together at the named Post 1945 memorial for the re-dedication of the extended memorial.

The pilgrimage was led by the Colonel of the regiment, Brigadier A.R.D.Sharpe.

The service of commemoration was conducted by the assistant bishop of Derby, the Right Rev Jack Nicholls.